The headache of cyber attacks never comes to an end. This time Singapore witnesses the worst cyber attack. The Hackers targeted the largest healthcare institution, The SingHealth. According to news reports issued by the Singapore government 1.5 million patients, personal information has been breached in this attack.
SingHealth is the largest health care institution in Singapore, with four hospitals, five national specialty centers, and eight polyclinics. In addition, other polyclinics used to be under SingHealth.
Many VIP personalities including high-class govt. officials visited SIngHealth for health issues. About 1.5 million patients had visited SingHealth’s specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics from May 1, 2015, to July 4, 2018.
Hackers have stolen personal data of about 1.5 million patients from SingHealth. Not only general patients but also the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a few ministers are affected in the cyber attack. The authorities report that PM Lee’s information was “specifically and repeatedly targeted”.
Among these 1.5 million patients, 160,000 people including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the ministers had their outpatient prescriptions stolen as well. The non-medical data that was illegal to access includes their names, IC numbers, addresses, gender, race, and dates of births. The Hackers did not temper any records, even the other medical records, for instance, diagnosis, test results, and doctors’ notes were leaked or messed up with.
According to experts, the SingHealth was specifically targeted by the Hackers. There are no reports about any other healthcare centers’ IT systems. This is considered as the worst data breach of Singapore.
As even Prime Minister of the country is affected. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong apologized to the affected patients, saying: “We are deeply sorry this has happened.” Mr. David Koh, chief executive of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, says; “this was a deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyber attack. It was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs.”
This cyber attack leaves serious consequences over Singapore’s Smart Nation Plans. The mandatory contribution to the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) project has been paused. This project enables the sharing of patients’ treatment and medical data among hospitals.